a teatray in the sky

福山植物園 (Fushan Botanical Garden)

Posted in Defrag by firthefirst on January 10, 2012

we spent the next day driving around Yilan county, basically from one end to the other, then back, then back again.  why?  because it’s not every day that you can get into the 福山植物園, the Fushan Botanical Gardens.  this entire facility used to be closed off to anyone without an academic permit, but now is available for public entry after a protracted stay on a wait list.  it wasn’t exactly the kind of weather that gets you amped up about looking at trees for an afternoon, especially after already spending a day looking at trees while getting rained on.  but I’m not going to be the debbie downer.  and neither was the 5D Mark II, which had spent the evening recovering from a waterlogged joystick (only letting me choose the center focus point – which is fine – or the lower left diagonal focus point – which is almost entirely useless) and was looking to get back in action.

one thing that consistently amazes me is how much interest the older generation of chinese/taiwanese take in plants.  they seem to know almost nothing about animals, but they can name all sorts of plants in chinese that I would only be able to describe as “tree” or “larger tree” in english.  you’d think they’d grown up in some parallel universe where Animal Planet had been replaced by Plant Planet on TV.  and I don’t think it’s an age thing.  I highly doubt that I’ll be able to waltz into a botanical garden at the age of 50 and start spouting the genus and species (heck, even the common names) of its deciduous denizens.  but that’s what older asian folks are into.  while we’re questioning useless things like whether a lion would beat a tiger in a fight (the answer is no, so you can stop wondering, and yes, I am serious), they can hold hour-long discussions on which herb has roots that you can steep in teas and how long you need to dry them for first.

I don’t know what they teach in U.S. Army survival training, but my feeling is they should hire a couple of asian grandmas to instruct those courses.  you’d come out of it being able to eat pretty much your entire environment, no matter where you crash land.

the awesome impressionistic piece of wood above comes from what is probably the most intriguing tree I’ve ever seen.  it looks more like some form of feral hydra rather than an inanimate plant:

I was worried the entire trip that I was going to regret not bringing a tripod, or at least a monopod.  and while I sort of did regret it, I’m also glad I didn’t have to carry around 8 pounds or so everywhere we went.  so I guess I don’t really regret it.  it just meant that, when I wanted to get long exposure shots like the shot of the creek above, I had to practice being very very still.  exposure time for the shot above?  2.5 seconds.

yes, it did take me 4 tries to nail it … but still, I think I’m allowed to swagger a bit.

dinner … oh, dinner.  the beginning of a love/hate relationship with food for the rest of this trip.  we simply ran up against a wall of food and even with reinforcements having arrived (Zhen Zhen having plucked Randy out of the airport lost-and-found), we were out of our depth.

utterly defeated/gorged, we took a brief walk across the world’s shortest ocean-crossing suspension bridge before heading to the hotel and mineral baths.

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